Votes for the WCHA awards were due earlier this week and thanks to the magic of the internets, a number of voters have posted their ballots.
It's a very tough year to chose. If I had to pick, I'd probably go like this
F-Ryan Stoa, Minnesota
F-Justin Fontaine, Minnesota-Duluth
F-Chad Rau, Colorado College
D-Jamie McBain, Wisconsin
D-Chay Genoway, North Dakota
G-Alex Stalock, Minnesota-Duluth
I'm pretty confident in the two defensemen. McBain had a rough start to the season that killed him statistically, but the Badgers had a pretty solid conference season thanks to him. Stalock had a really good year too. He probably cost his team home ice with some dumb decisions against Minnesota and Alaska-Anchorage--tell me my tether idea didn't look better after he left his net to slash a UAA player at a critical moment last weekend--but UMD might not have been in that position without him.
Forwards are a bit of a mess for me. Stoa is a no-brainer of the basis of his whole season, even if I thought he disappeared for stretches in the second half while his team struggled. Fontaine is just absolutely brilliant offensively. Rau is probably one of the toughest forwards in the league to go up against.
F-Ryan Duncan, North Dakota
F-Jordan Schroeder, Minnesota
F-Kael Mouillierat, Minnesota State
D-Josh Meyers, Minnesota-Duluth
D-Patrick Wiercioch, Denver
G-Marc Cheverie, Denver
Again, the two defensemen were the easiest choices. Goalie was a toss-up between Cheverie and Brad Eidsness and Cheverie had the better save percentage in conference play.
I guess I'll buy in to some of the hype about Duncan. His scoring production went down even though WCHA scoring went up, but he still had an excellent season. Schroeder was fantastic offensively all season long, and probably deserved more credit for what he did for Minnesota than he got. I wasn't really considering Mouillierat until I saw him pop up on a couple different ballots and looked at his numbers a little closer. Mouillierat was the second best goalscorer in the conference despite missing three--essentially four--games due to injury.
F-Ryan Lasch, St. Cloud
F-Anthony Maiani, Denver
F-Eric Walsky, Colorado College
D-Garrett Raboin, St. Cloud
D-Kurt Davis, Minnesota State
G-Brad Eidsness, North Dakota
Eidsness was an easy choice. Raboin and Davis were two guys that stepped up and played decent on teams that were pretty weak on the blueline. Lasch had a lot of points. Maiani very quietly had an excellent season where he led one of the better teams in the country in scoring. Walsky was nearly as dominating as Rau was. Those two really carried their team.
F-Jordan Schroeder, Minnesota
F-Mike Connolly, Minnesota-Duluth
F-Brett Olson, Michigan Tech
Schroeder, Wiercioch, and Eidsness were no-brainers. I really liked the way Connolly played for Duluth this year. The third forward spot was a complete toss-up between about seven guys with similar statistics. I went with the kid that scored .75 points per game in conference play, when his team only averaged 1.6 goals per game in conference play. In hindsight, it's not surprising that neither Aaron Ness nor Jake Gardiner quite lived up to their preseason billing, given that they came straight from high school, and that kind of left Gabe Guentzel as the best choice by default.
And the Individual Awards...
Player of the Year: This is a tough choice for me between Jamie McBain and Chay Genoway. McBain meant more to his team, but I think Genoway had the better all-around year. I guess McBain.
Rookie of the Year: I could see it being close between Schroeder and Wiercioch, but for me, it's got to be Jordan Schroeder.
Coach of the Year: George Gwozdecky. I think we've all at one point or another wanted to stand on the dasher, walk across the ice, and ask a linesmen if they have any idea what these clowns are doing. Only one man had the genius to pull it off.